Lawmaker has introduced Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act to overhaul nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), released the following statement today after release of a new report from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission in Japan that found that the nuclear meltdowns that occurred as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 were “a profoundly man-made disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.”

“We know what happened in Japan could happen here in the United States,” said Rep. Markey, a leading Congressional voice for nuclear safety. “We are currently experiencing how susceptible the United States is to power outages, floods, and other natural disasters, and our nuclear power plants remain at the top of terrorist target lists. Yet, the majority of NRC Commissioners have consistently voted to reject most of the recommendations of the Near-Term Fukushima Task Force and implement nuclear safety upgrades in a way that acknowledges that they are necessary to ensure the adequate protection of America’s nuclear power plants. I call on the Commission to stop the delays and fully implement the recommendations of the Fukushima taskforce to address the vulnerabilities to our nuclear fleet that were revealed by the Fukushima meltdowns.”  

Four of the Commissioners currently serving at the NRC regrettably have a history of voting against the safety recommendations put forward by technical experts, including its own advisory committees.  Some of these votes have occurred since the Fukushima meltdowns. A partial summary of these votes can be found HERE.

In March 2011, Rep. Markey introduced H.R. 1242, the Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act. The legislation calls for the NRC to ensure that nuclear power plants and spent nuclear fuel pools can withstand and adequately respond to earthquakes, tsunamis, strong storms, long power outages, or other events that threaten a major impact.  Rep. Markey’s bill also calls for a moratorium on nuclear power plant licenses, license extensions, and new nuclear reactor designs until an overhaul of nuclear safety to address the inadequacies exposed by the Fukushima meltdowns is completed.